My week in drawings

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This morning Mary and I met our coffee group friends at the "secret" cafe in canbury gardens along the river. The wind teased the pine trees. The waves on the river winked at us through the tall oaks. And we sipped our coffees, licked our ice creams and chatted about our summer plans. 

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When I need to clear my mind I often step into the garden and inhale the bracing, clean scent of lavender. It sweeps all the cobwebs out of the corners of my mind. Then I can head back to work again. 

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This morning Mary and I took the train into London to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. It was a misty, mizzly morning, and it felt like we had the streets to ourselves. We wandered Covent Garden and Waterloo bridge with wide eyes. 

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Today, amidst deadline prep and housework, I zoomed into town to get some treats for my husband's birthday celebration tomorrow. I took ten minutes to sip a latte and sketched the people around me. I love coffee shops. People chat, read, work, and no matter what they are doing they seem contended and connected: either in conversation or in concentration on a task. A little sketch for a busy day. 

Taking a moment

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Lately life has felt like a mad dash to the finish line carrying an egg in a spoon and balancing a stack of books on my head. I have an illustration deadline in a week, which has thrown all my carefully balanced schedules into flux. This morning, after a few hours of intense work, I took 30 minutes to sip a hot chocolate and daydream at our local cafe. How's your Monday going?

My week in drawings

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Last weekend  we went on an "aventure" (as my toddler daughter calls it) and cycled through Richmond park and along the river to Richmond village. Then we had coffee and croissants under the tall, broad plane trees and watched the rowers sculling under the bridge. 

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I love the sculptural shadows cast by a lovely, big summer hat. It's so fun to play with hats in my drawings. I got this hat years ago when we lived in Cape Town in a small seaside town called Hermanus. 

My week in drawings

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It is another hot day in London. I took an early walk in the park this morning before I sequestered myself in my studio for a painting session. I loved the interplay between deep shade and brilliant sunshine. The brick wall was like a canvas for light. It was refreshing and inspiring. What do you do to recharge your creative muscles?

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I felt like I made a revolutionary shift this morning when I successfully wore high heels all morning while running after my toddler. I used to love wearing heels, and I never do any more because I think it's not compatible with motherhood. But I challenged my assumptions today and loved the refreshing change.  

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A portrait of an artist at the end of the day. It's been a busy, happy day. Little One is now tucked into her bed and is softly singing herself to sleep. The birds are singing their evening lullabies. 

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The highlight of Thursdays is definitely Mary's mini movement dance classes. She learns to move and dance freely and expressively. There are no "rules," only joyful creativity. Her dance teacher is endlessly inventive, and always finds new and exciting ways to entertain the energetic gaggle of toddlers.

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A symphony in blue. The awnings of our local cafe exactly match the brilliant, hot cloudless sky on a summer's day. I love to pop in just before picking Mary up from nursery for a latte and an Italian treat. It's one of our favourite spots in Kingston upon Thames. 

 

 

Sketching at Strawberry Hill House

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After a long, dark London winter, it is practically a requirement that your soul bursts out of your sternum with joy with the light returns and colour explodes from every corner of the natural world. 

One such, joyful, exuberant morning we ventured across the river to Strawberry Hill House. It is a jewel-box home, and the inspiration of Horace Walpole, man of letters and gothic novelist. Every corner was bathed in the prismatic light from the stained glass windows. And each room was unique, imaginative and eccentric.

There is always something to be inspired by in our neighbourhood. Sometimes life feels busy and frantic and I forget to "look" around me. If I stop for a moment (even the shortest interval between breaths) and try to really "see," I am always amazed by the beauty surrounding me. 

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Mother - Daughter mornings

My daughter is my alarm clock. She wakes at (or before) dawn and I hear her small voice calling, “Mama? Mama? I finished sleeping.”

That is how my day begins. 

We pull open the curtains and search for the sun, or if we’re up before (as is common in winter), we search for the setting moon and the morning star floating just above the rooftops of London. 

While I may not always be ready to start the day, I’m always ready to receive her warm, sleepy, nuzzling hugs and kisses. 

What I love about the morning is it’s possibility. The night has absolved all of yesterday’s disappointments and the sun brings a new day full of promise. 

Each morning starts the same. We get dressed, we make porridge, we brew coffee, and we invert into a few downward dog poses to clear the head. These routines are carefully choreographed steps that prepare us for the day to come. In the endlessly repetitive actions there is a sense of possibility. 

What will we do with this one wild day?

Will we go to town to see the ducks on the river and share babyccinos? Will Little One go to nursery school so that I can spend a few uninterrupted hours in my studio? Will we set up the craft table and draw uncountable numbers of stars and moons (just as many as are in our unfathomable universe)? 

Each day is a collaboration. 

For years I have wanted to collaborate with my mother. I have dreamed of writing a memoir or novel together, but it has always seemed too overwhelming. How to start? Especially since we live so far apart? 

I decided I needed to think of a smaller project to start with. Something we could do daily, but would add up cumulatively into something rather large. 

Since we both love mornings, we decided to take a photo each day before noon: just one picture. It could be of anything at all. It's about illuminating, and making beautiful, the random objects we see each day. The cup of coffee. The bird feeder. The bookshelf. 

We may be separated by 6297 kilometers, but we share the same aesthetic sensibility and way of seeing. We love the same things, wear the same colours, and read the same books. 

I hope you can see the connections and similarities in these photo duets. 

Here is the first instalment... 

MARILYN

19/11/16

20/11/16

21/11/16

22/11/16

23/11/16

24/11/16

25/11/16

26/11/16

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